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The Iowa State Fair and Public Relations

OK, it wasn't as bad a flop as the roll-out of the Affordable Health Care Debit Card Reader website but still...  Last week our friends on the Iowa State Fair Board had cow-pies in their face.  The Board, aware of reports that other states that were missing out on thousands of revenue dollars due to either under-reporting of sales or skimming, determined that fair-goers should by fifty-cent tickets for food and drink. 

Yep, fifty-cent tickets.  Can you imagine how many tickets, at fifty-cents each, you would have to lug around just to buy a bucket of cookies or two rounds of cheese curds? 

Well, the public and the vendors screamed and within a day of posting the new rules the Fair Board decided they had enough and cranked out a press release that was heavy on "Oops" and very light on details.

When we made contact with their media office we were told, "The press release is all we are saying."  In other words, "We don't know exactly what to say and hope all of this blows over...quickly."

Cashless at the Iowa State Fair really isn't a bad idea. But, fifty-cent tickets is. We think it might be a wise investment to launch a "debit-card" system.  When you buy advance tickets you get a card (Maybe even pre-loaded with five bucks? Thinking PR) that you can load remotely or at the fairgrounds. 

The drawbacks of the cashless system are hardware and public relations.  And...judging by the poor PR that went into this decision it might be awhile before the Iowa State Fair should even consider...hardware.

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Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications is the fuel that powers Insight on Business the News Hour where this story was first aired. 

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